#schoolsafety | Evening Briefing: April 23, 2021

Good evening, SoCal. We’re wrapping up the day for you with the most important stories you need to know and your weather outlook.

Your Weather Planner

It was another dreary day around much of Southern California, with low clouds and even some measurable drizzle. Low clouds will return each morning this weekend.

Skies should clear faster Saturday, and with additional sunshine, afternoon temperatures will warm slightly. Rain chances have increased Sunday afternoon and evening for some areas.

Tomorrow’s Highs

Get your 7-day forecast: LA West | LA East | San Fernando Valley/Ventura County | Orange County

Today’s Big Stories

1. U.S. to resume J&J COVID vaccinations despite rare clot risk

U.S. health officials lifted an 11-day pause on COVID-19 vaccinations using Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose shot on Friday, after scientific advisers decided its benefits outweigh a rare risk of blood clot.

The government uncovered 15 vaccine recipients who developed a highly unusual kind of blood clot, out of nearly 8 million people given the J&J shot. All were women, most under age 50. Three died, and seven remain hospitalized.

But ultimately Friday, the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided that J&J’s one-and-done vaccine is critical to fight the pandemic — and that the small clot risk could be handled with warnings to help younger women decide if they should use that shot or an alternative.

The U.S. decision — similar to how European regulators are rolling out J&J’s shot — comes after CDC advisers earlier Friday voted 10-4 to resume vaccinations but panelists made clear that they must come with warnings about the risk. The group debated but ultimately steered clear of outright age restrictions.

“This is an age group that is most at risk (of the clotting) that is getting vaccine predominately to save other peoples’ lives and morbidity, not their own. And I think we have a responsibility to be certain that they know this,” said Dr. Sarah Long of Drexel University College of Medicine, who voted against the proposal because she felt it did not go far enough in warning women.

2. LAUSD taps Megan Reilly as interim superintendent

Deputy Superintendent Megan Reilly was offered the position of interim superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District Friday while the Board of Education searches for a replacement for Austin Beutner, who announced Thursday that he will step down when his contract expires June 30.

“The Board has full faith in Ms. Reilly’s ability to sustain the District’s efforts to support students and families and ensure a seamless transition,” the LAUSD said, adding that official action will follow at an upcoming board meeting.

Reilly has served as deputy superintendent of business services and operations since June 2019, overseeing human resources, finance, facilities, transportation, information technology, school safety and other operations.

LAUSD officials said she has been integral to the success of the Grab & Go meal distribution centers, the distribution of electronic devices to students and educators, and meeting the complex demands of the reopening of schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Reilly previously served the district from 2007 to 2017 as its chief financial officer, and after that was the chief business officer for the Santa Clara County Office of Education. 

This Jan. 11, 2019, file photo, shows Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner, pictured far left, along with other LAUSD Board members at their headquarters lobby in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

3. California governor seeks ban on new fracking by 2024

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday said California will stop issuing fracking permits by 2024 and halt all oil extraction by 2045, using his authority to take on the state’s powerful oil and gas industry in a year he will likely face voters in a recall election.

If successful, California — the seventh-largest oil-producing state in the nation — would become the largest to ban fracking and likely the first in the world to set a deadline for the end of all oil production.

“As we move to swiftly decarbonize our transportation sector and create a healthier future for our children, I’ve made it clear I don’t see a role for fracking in that future and similarly, believe that California needs to move beyond oil,” Newsom said at a news release.

California was once one of the largest oil-producing states in the nation, with a robust industry centered in the Central Valley just north of Los Angeles. But by 2020, the state’s oil production fell to its lowest level in state history, down 68% from its peak in 1985. Still, the industry employs about 152,000 people and is responsible for $152.3 billion in economic output, according to a 2019 study.

4. The Oscars: Predictions and possible upsets

Like every other awards show this year, COVID is shaking up Hollywood’s biggest night. Not only will the 93rd Academy Awards take place at Union Station for the first time this year, it’s likely to be the lowest-rated Oscars ever.

“It will be like watching a sporting event with no particular team to cheer for,” said Sandro Monetti. The author of “Confessions of a Hollywood Insider,” Monetti has covered the Oscars for the past 10 years and will do so again for BBC Radio 5 Live this Sunday.

With most movie theaters closed for the past year, few people have seen the nominated films, he said. And those who sought them out had to navigate a host of distribution platforms. Monetti, however, has seen them all and has some informed predictions, and possible upsets, for who will be taking home the gold statues. 

Your Notes for Tomorrow

  • The LAPD’s Rampart Division and local organizations will partner to host a food and school supplies distribution to assist families in one of the city’s “most devastated” areas from the COVID-19 pandemic. The distribution will run from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.
  • The Aquarium of the Pacific will host a virtual Earth Day festival on Saturday. The daylong event will feature animal meet-and-greet opportunities, a poetry contest and environmental and animal conservation presentations. The festivities will be available online. 
  • The DEA will hold its semiannual Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday at numerous locations in the Southland and around the country, where people can turn in their expired, unused prescription medications for disposal. The full list of collection sites is at www.deatakeback.com
  • The Colorado Democratic Party Obama Dinner will take place virtually on Saturday with remarks from Vice President Kamala Harris
  • SpaceX Crew-2 mission arrives at the International Space Station 
  • The Oscars will air at 5 p.m. Sunday on ABC

In Case You Missed It

Since the pandemic began, Asian Americans have been facing rising levels of racist verbal and physical attacks.

The Senate recently sent a powerful message of solidarity to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community by approving a bill that makes it easier to investigate hate crimes against Asian Americans. The vote was 94 to 1.

Staff writer Russ Mitchell spoke with more than a dozen Asian adoptees about their unique perspective and what they have to say about racism in America. 

In an interview for “LA Times Today,” Mitchell and his daughter Skye joined host Lisa McRee to talk about their experience as a family. 

Watch “LA Times Today” at 7 and 10 p.m. Monday through Friday on Spectrum News 1 and the app.

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